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4 steps to get your staff to adopt technology when they don’t want to

4 steps to get your staff to adopt technology when they don’t want to

As I assist dealers with the implementation of RepairLink, I repeatedly encounter an alarming perception among counter staff: technology will hinder their ability to sell parts, or worseit will replace them.

You may have read Scott’s post, “Why it’s ok to be afraid of technology” and are looking for helpful ways to get your staff to use technology. Changing behavior is difficult, I know. And often, this “fear of technology” prevents your counter staff from encouraging your customers from buying from you online, and it can lead to ‘sabotaging’ behavior. I’ve frequently heard that dealership counter staff actively tell repair shops NOT to use it!

It’s obvious your counter team is on the front lines of your business; they are the main link between you and your customers. But since they are focused on the day-to-day, they may not always see the “big picture.” So how do you do connect those AND technology?

Step 1: Level the playing field

It’s honesty time: You have to explain the reality of the market your business is in with your staff. Parts sales are a $54 billion industry with the OE share around 10%. And can you guess why the aftermarket has been so successful? A large part can be credited to their ability to leverage technology.

Another good point you can share: The longer technology is ignored (or discouraged), your business’ presence will go down as aftermarket competition continues to rise. Ultimately, a lack of a presence in the market could cause job cutbacks – the very thing your staff is anxiously trying to avoid.

Step 2: Identify the problem

If you’ve noticed your staff not adopting the technology you have, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. Have a meeting and ask for honest feedback and opinions. It’s important to encourage a truthful discussion and not present a “promote or else…” ultimatum. Depending on your situation, it may be beneficial to meet with your team members individually. Either way, you can’t fix the problem if you don’t fully understand what the problem actually is.

Step 3: Fix the issues you can, and address the ones you can’t

After those conversations, you should have a good idea of what the issues are. It’s completely understandable if you can’t fix all of the problems immediately, but be honest about it and take steps to assure your staff that you will use necessary resources to fix the problem.

Every dealership will have different tech issues to address, so I can’t really speak in detail (and if I did, this blog article would be about a mile long), but I do recommend the following to get your staff on the same page:

  • Explain the value of the technological tools you have and how it benefits them as individuals (and as a team).
  • Discuss time savings including reduction of non-sales generating calls and activities.
  • Explain how your customers are online already (52% order outside of counter hours!), so you might as well make the effort to gain their business. Aftermarket suppliers are already at full-speed when it comes to selling online, all with the intention of keeping you, an OE parts dealer, out of their way in terms of competition.
  • Having the ability to look at illustrations online can help customers look for EXACTLY what they need over having you trying to interpret what they are looking for… which has proven to reduce returns.
Step 4: If you (or your entire staff) is still not convinced

Since I work with RepairLink every day, I will use it as an example. One method that has worked well if a parts staff is still resistant to adopting technology:

Have one person run RepairLink and pay them all the commission associated with online sales. Trust me – it will motivate that staff member to drive as many online transactions as possible. It will also show the remainder of your staff how many opportunities really are out there online.

If all else fails, contact your vendor. Whether it’s with us or any technological company, more than likely they can give you tips and help on getting your staff onboard.

One last reminder: Technology doesn’t guarantee success, but avoiding it  can be damaging to your business

Buying technology for your business doesn’t mean you will see instant results. Online sales should be viewed as separately from your other sales, and will need to continually be reviewed to maximize customer usage and it’s return on investment over time. Since the industry – including aftermarket parts – is adopting technology at a rapid pace, you have to be able to deliver and compete. Just like the cassette and 8-tracks tapes, the phone will be less and less favored. So now you have to ask you staff: should you invest in future, or the past?